Book Review: The Backwash of War

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In 1915, Ellen N. La Motte arrived in Europe as one of the first American volunteer nurses to work in the field hospitals of World War 1. She was specialised as a Tuberculosis nurse, a keen observer and a writer unafraid of judgment. And she wrote.

The Backwash of War: The Classic Account of a First World War Field-Hospital has her observations of working in a Belgian field-hospital. And she spares nobody. Surgeons, Generals, orderlies, fellow nurses, patients, patients’ wives, and the very foundation of war-time policy – all are scrutinised under her eagle’s eye.

“Much ugliness is churned up in the wake of mighty, moving forces, and this is the backwash of war.”

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Hell Week is Over. But I’d Rather Talk About SAS.

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I survived Hell Week. Not sure what that is? Check this post, right at the end.

I don’t really want to talk about it though. I’m pretty traumatised. Thanks to a huge amount of prayers and support and motivation from my family and friends, I survived it. I honestly did not think I would get past Tuesday.

My worst subjects, Surgery and Orthopaedics, went really well. My best subjects, Ophthalmology and Anaesthetics went REALLY badly. We only get our results in like a century though.

Exactly one year ago today, I disembarked Semester at Sea’s MV Explorer in Barcelona. I can’t believe it’s been a year. I miss falling asleep on the rocking ocean. I miss the countries – all of them. It was a great experience.

Watch this spoken word by Stephen Brown, whom I met in the Illness Narratives course we both took on the ship. I tear up every time I watch this. It is the best representation of that voyage. Transcript below.

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A New Generation of LGBT YA

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April is LGBT-month with LauraPlusBooks and FightingDreamer. Although I am studying VERY HARD (I really am), I wanted to get this post in really quickly. I realised a while ago that I haven’t read that many LGBT books. I’ve read quite a few where a secondary character is LGBT (The Mortal Instruments, Mara Dyer, etc) and quite a few short-story collections, like Yes, I am! and OMG QUEER. Then there was Every Day (which is kind of, I don’t know, pansexual?) and Luna.

Recently I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. It was incredible (not quite a five-star read, due to some issues I have with the final bit of the book) and while reading I kept thinking how this narrative felt to me like a revolution not only in LGBT writing, but YA in general.

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